tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 18, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PDT
you may be seated. they are age-old questions that rise up far too often these days. questions we all ask, no matter what our faith tradition or our station in life. how can a good god allow bad things to happen? where was god when evil slithered in and planted the horror that exploded our innocence? while someone this morning may have answers, i do not. but this is what i know.
god is here. in the midst of this sacred gathering in this sanctuary and beyond, different faiths, different races, strangers bound first by loss and pain, but now clinging together in growing strength in a city that has always faced the darkness head on. we are members of one another. a community of resilience. hard pressed, but not defeated. confounded, but not consumed. we are gathered in community, and through the blur of each other's tears and the beats of so many broken hearts, we will rise in community. and face whatever the future holds. resolutely, as one. this is what is demanded of us, and this is who we are.
god is here in our resilience. the grit that gets us back up again. and nothing taken will be forgotten or lost in vain. this is how god works. good morning. i am reverend liz walker from roxbury presbyterian church. and i welcome you as we gather in community to help heal our beloved city and this violence weary world. let us pray. creator god, in the beginning, you said, let there be light. and the light shone, piercing the darkness. help us find our way through the darkness now. you taught us that we belong to
each other. help us hold each other now. we pray comfort for those who have lost loved ones, courage for those who are struggling through the trauma of physical and psychic pain, and tenderness to those for whom the world no longer makes sense. lord, bless this brokenhearted city as she finds her balance, dusts herself off, and tilts her head back toward the sky. open our eyes to your presence this morning. open our hearts to your grace. restore us so that we can see and be the light once again. in all that we hold holy, for me that is jesus christ, let the
people of god together say, amen. >> amen. >> reverend liz walker of the roxbury presbyterian church. offering the greeting now, metropolitan methodius, the greek orthodox spiritual leader. the greek orthodox metropolis. >> it's a high honor and privilege of representing the greek orthodox community of boston and new england at this interfaith service of healing. this past monday, a day rich with symbolism, a horrific act of terrorism wounded the heart and soul of our city and our nation. thousands from throughout the world were in boston as
participants and spectators of the marathon, which, as we all know, recalls the run of thilipiles from the ancient city of marathon to athens to announce the victory of greece over the forces of an empire that devalued freedom, human dignity and democracy. the boston marathon always coincides with patriots day, when we commemorate the battles of lexington and concord, the first of the american revolution. sadly, it was on patriots day when we celebrate the values of freedom and democracy and the fiercely independent spirit of america, it was on that day that evil reared its ugly head once again and countless innocent men, women and children fell victims to a senseless and
unspeakable act of brutality. but we know that bombs of terrorism may kill and injure, but they cannot crush the american spirit. today we thank cardinal o'malley for opening the embrace of his cathedral to all of us. to president obama, to governor patrick, to mayor menino, to all who are in public service, to the religious leaders of the commonwealth, to every citizen, regardless of creed, we gather as a community, as brothers and sisters in the household of god, to bow our heads in solemn prayer for the repose of the souls of three innocent victims
whose lives were violently taken and for the countless victims who will bear painful wounds for the rest of their lives. we come today to thank god for the police and firefighters, the national guard, for the doctors and nurses, for all who courageously.flessly and we pray that our gracious, loving and compassionate, our merciful god, the healer of our souls and bodies, watch over us and comfort us in our hour of pain. and that he who is the prince of peace bring peace to our souls and to our community. and may almighty god bless america.
>> metropolitan methodius, the greek orthodox leader, spiritual leader of boston and new england. speaking now, mayor thomas menino, the city's longest serving mayor. recovering from some recent leg surgery. it's fwragreat to have the mayo with us today. you're watching live coverage of "healing our city," an interfaith prayer service from the cathedral of the holy cross.
>> good morning. >> good morning. >> it is good morning. because we are together. we are one boston. no adversity. no challenge. nothing can tear down the resilience in the heart of the city and its people. it is written that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. as the clock struck that fateful hour, love has covered this resilient city. i have never loved it, its people more than i do today.
we have never loved it and its people more than we do today. we love the brave ones who felt the blast and still raced to the smoke. with ringing in their ears, they answered cries of those in need. this was the courage of our city at work. we love the fathers and brothers who took shirts off their backs to stop the bleeding. the mothers and the sisters who cared for the injured. the neighbors and the business owners, the homeowners all across the city, they opened their doors and their hearts to the weary and the scared.
they said, what's mine is yours. we'll get through this together. this was the compassion of the city at work. we never loved the heroes who wear their uniforms more than we do at this hour. boston's finest in their blue. they carried kids to safety and calmed a city in crisis. the emts performed miracles in an instant. the firefighters answered can call. we love the national guard and our service members who brought valor to our streets. the volunteers in the baa jackets in their vests. the doctors and nurses. the victims and the gravely injured arrived.
this was the strength of our city at work. we have never loved the people of the city -- the world and our great country more for their prayers and wishes. and, yes, we even love new york city more. "sweet caroline" played at yankee stadium and our city's flag flying in lower manhattan. it gives us even more strength to say prayer after prayer for the victims still recovering through the hospitals, at home. it gives us strength to say good-bye to the young boy with the big heart, martin richard. we pray for his sister and his mom, his brother and his dad.
it helps us to say that we'll miss krystle campbell and celebrate her spirit that brought her to the marathon year after year. it helps us to mourn lu lingzi, who came to the city in search of education, and found new friends. we'll never forget her. i'm telling you, nothing can defeat the heart of the city. nothing. nothing will take us down, because we take care of one another. even with the smell of the smoke in the air, and blood on the streets, tears in our eyes, we triumphed over that hateful act on monday afternoon. it's a glorious thing. the love and the strength covers our city. it will push us forward.
located at the finish line of the boston marathon, old south church in boston has developed over the years a ministry to marathoners. and i'm here to tell you that they are a special, very special breed. they are built of sturdy stuff. as we do every year on marathon sunday, the day before the marathon, we invite the athletes to worship. and they come in the hundreds. and during the service, we ask them to stand. and we raise a forest of arms in blessing over them. and in the words of the prophet isaiah, we supercharge them, saying "may you run and not grow weary, may you walk and not
faint." this year in the midst of it all, in the midst of a joy filled, peace filled, international competition unlike any other, explosions, chaos, terror. and from the church's tower, this is what i saw that day. i saw people run toward, not away from, toward the explosions. toward the chaos. the mayhem. toward the danger. making of their own bodies sackmesack resackments of mercy. in the minutes and hours that followed i saw with my own eyes good samaritans taking off their coats and their shirts and wrapping them around athletes who were shivershivering, quakih cold and whose limbs were
stiffening. good samaritans who fed, clothed and sheltered runners and families, assisted families, shared their cell phones, opened homes and stores, and not least, guided strangers through boston's cow paths. today, from our tower overlooking the finish line, we continue to fly our three marathon banners. today we fly them first in memory of those whose lives were taken that day. and second, we fly them with prayers for those who were harmed and those who grieve, for their is still much, much pain in the world today. and we are very far from being healed. and we fly them also in thanksgiving for first responders who made of their own
bodi bodies sacraments of blessing. here's what i know today. we are shaken, but we are not forsaken. another's hate will not make of us haters. another's cruelty will only redouble our mercy. amen. >> amen. >> reverend nancy s. taylor. >> president and mrs. obama, governor and mrs. patrick, mayor and mrs. menino, all of us in this space and well beyond are grateful for your constant and
inspired leadership. your compassionate presence is a signal of the triumph of order over chaos, of love over hatred. the gifted columnist anna quindland wrote, "grief remains one of the few things that has the power to silence us. it is a whisper in the world and a clamber within. the landscapes of all our lives become as full of craters as the surface of the moon." we would wish our prayers this morning to hold not only the city and its souls in our embrace, but to extend our reach to kindred spirits in newtown and now, sadly, in west, texas. our message to them is that our
arms are wide enough to hold you in our hearts as well. a rabbi once said -- [ speaking in foreign language ] the entire world is a narrow bridge, but the important principle is -- [ speaking in foreign language ] -- the important principle is to transcend somehow your fear. as we share our grief for those who have lost life or limb, and for the constellations of families and friends who surround them, we turn to these words taken from psalm 147, verse 3. [ speaking in foreign language ] god, healer of the brokenhearted, and binder of their wounds, grant consolation
to those who mourn and healing to all those who suffer loss and pain. empower them with strength and courage and restore to them and to all of us who grieve with them a sense of life's goodness and purpose. fill their hearts and ours with reverence and with love that we might turn to you again with hearts restored to wholeness, hands committed to the recreation of well-being and peace.
[ speaking in foreign language ] in the name of god, the most compassionate and most merciful, mr. president, governor patrick, mayor menino, and fellow citizens of boston. we're gathered together to mourn the loss of life in a criminal attack in our community. what happened on monday has shocked and horrified us. but it has also brought us together. i come before you to share the message of my community's scripture. i want to cite a passage that i studied when i was 7 years old. i was living at the time in damascus, syria. one afternoon while walking back home from school, i experienced a terror of a car bomb that exploded on my route. i will never forget the sound of the blast.
the confused rush of humanity. and the anger and the fear that these feelings returned on monday. what gave me comfort at that time is something that may bring comfort to all of us today. it is a line from the muslim holy scripture. the passage declares that it is inspired by the jewish tradition. by a decree to the children of israel. that whoever kills a soul, it is as if he killed mankind entirely. and whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved all of mankind. on boyleston street on monday afternoon, next to a great public library that bears among many names that of the prophet mohammed peace be upon him, we saw souls murdered. but also lives saved. one week ago i was at another ceremony here in boston.
i stood in a hall with 400 other people before a bust of frederick douglass and john adam adams. we came from 77 different countries and all kinds of religious backgrounds. i, the lowly immigrant from mauritania raised my hand and took with them our oath of citizenship. those of you who are born americans may not be aware of what naturalized citizens pledge upon officially joining the nation of the united states of america. i was profoundly struck by the words we recited. we pledged to defend the constitution and the laws of the united states of america against all enemies. foreign and domestic. and we pledged to perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law. when i recited this pledge last
week, i could not imagine that work of national importance by civilians would be required here in boston so soon. but now all of us need to take up this pledge. we all have service to perform and, indeed, we are all moved by the thousands of people who stepped forward in a moment of tragedy and confusion to serve. i want to salute everyone who ran towards the victim despite risk to themselves. everyone who gave blood. everyone who volunteered shelter for stranded runners. i want to salute the members of law enforcement who are protecting us as we speak. and to thank the people around the world who are sending messages of hope and solidarity. before us, all is civilian work of national and even international interest. no one has to take a formal oath. we know instinctively that we
must rise to the occasion and act because of our common humanity. that is what makes us americans. one nation, under god. and now a prayer. dear god, oh compassionate one, oh merciful one, welcome in heaven those innocent souls who were taken from us and grant the surviving family members the strength to face their loss. heal the wounds of those hurt last monday and heal the wounds of all bostonians. we are hurting. united by faith and something greater than ourselves, we people of boston, with your blessing, dedicate ourselves to the great task before us. to heal, to rebuild, and to serve once again as a shining city on the hill. [ speaking in foreign language ] amen.
>> good morning. this morning, the words of psalm 125, verse 3, have a particular resonance. for the sector of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous. so that the righteous may not stretch out their hands to do wrong. as we have confirmed so graphically this week, wickedness does exist in this world. but we are reminded by scripture that god has put a hedge of limitation around it. it may manifest itself for a moment, but then it has to
relinquish the field to a higher, nobler power who is in ultimate control. this is why we come together in a time like this, as people of faith. to go beyond the immediate dimension of terror, death and loss, and to elevate our eyes to that sacred sphere, to place this terrible tragedy in higher context, in a brighter light that can redeem it and infuse it with elements of hope, love and unity. if we could not gravitate to that dimension, where infinite good sits on his throne, at this very moment gazing lovingly upon this city, grieving for and with us and those who have literally lost life or limb, then perhaps
evil would have achieved the victory that it sought so fruitlessly on patriots day. but we are people of faith. we believe in a benevolent god who holds a steady hand over history. even as he allows hatred and fanaticism to have its moment, it's also declared time and time again due to the many voices of melinneal faiths that in the end goodness will always prevail. yes, weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. events such as the one that graced us on that bright monday afternoon just a couple of days ago remind us that we inhabit a mysterious world where a loving, sovereign god sometimes allows a flash of dark energy to penetrate our domain.
but only to ennoble us and to extract from us an even greater measure of good and generosity. the dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good. and invoking even more strongly the very light that it so desperately tries to extinguish. we have all been inspired by the images and anecdotes of heroism and the just plain goodness that have already emerged from the first few hours of this unspeakable tragedy. this crucifixion has released much good. in our weakness, we have been made strong. in our suffering, we have been inspired to pray for others. in our woundedness, we have
extended consolation. in our diversity, we have been united. in our perplexity, we have been led again to run to god and to remember that no matter how strong, fast or successful we may be, we are ultimately children of eternity, able to find true hope and solace only in the bosom of our father, in the realm of prayer and spiritual humility. in that pair dradox of weaknesst we have entered into, we can become more gracious and more powerful. better channels for the grace of god to enter into this broken world. this is a small, immediate comfort, of course, to those who lie right now in a hospital bed, contemplating a life that has
been irrevocably changed or who grieve a loss or loved one. we pray also they receive the grace to look beyond this moment of suffering and to believe that their life is far from over. that they can rise beyond their pain and their loss to become spiritually stronger and more agile. that they can find fullness of life and happiness and personal realization in the new normal that they now inhabit. may they never allow bitterness or hatred to linger more than a brief moment in their soul. may they receive that peace that passes all understanding. may they be able to translate into their own spiritual language the assuring words of the apostle paul. who shall separate us from the love of christ? shall tribulation or distress or
persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? as it is written, for your sake, we are killed all day long. we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. yet, in all these things, we are more than conquerers through him who loved us. god's love will yet have the last word. god has not forsaken boston. god has not forsaken our nation. he merely weaves a beautiful, bright tapestry of goodness that includes a few dark strands. by faith, we will leave this sacred space today to continue that noble narrative of patriotism, self-sacrifice and simple striving that was only briefly interrupted by impotent evil, but that now continues
>> to our courageous president, to our compassionate governor, to our mighty mayor, to all of you, matthew, chapter 5. now, when we saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain side and sat down. his desis ps came to him. he began to teach them, saying, blessed are the poor in spirit. for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are those who mourn, for
they will be comforted. blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled. blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see god. blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of god. blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are you when people
insult you, persecute you, falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. rejoice and be glad. because great is your reward in heaven. for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you, beloved, i believe jesus taught that to perceive the kingdom of heaven, you must see the opposite. when you see loss, see reward. when you hear a cry of pain, hear a prayer. when you see sacrifice, see a sacred offering. and to those of you who have
suffered in any type of suffering wherever you might be, the lord is saying to you, never lose sight of your future. you who mourn, you will be comforted. you who are broken, you will be healed. you who have suffered loss, you will be rewarded. the massachusetts license plate says "the spirit of america." and i pray the world right now, today, at this moment, will look at us and see the true spirit of america.
>> my dear brothers and sisters, tear friends, on behalf of our catholic community, i wish to welcome all of you here to the cathedral of the holy cross. it's an honor to have our president, our governor, and our mayor here with us this morning. we're so grateful to governor patrick for initiating this ecumenical prayer service. we're delighted that metropolitan methodius and reverend liz walker and all of the many leaders from the various churches and faith communities could join us here today. our holy father, pope francis, asked me to communicate to you his sentiments of love and support. the holy father invokes god's peace upon our dead, consolation
upon the suffering, and god's strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. the holy father prays that we will be united in the resolve, not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good. working together to build an evermore just, free and secure society for generations to come. this year's patriots day celebrations were marred by an act of senseless violence that's caused all of us great shock and pain. it has made us relive the horror of september 11th. and is a stark reminder of the darkness that can lurk in the human heart and produce such evil. and yet the same tragedy has brought us together as a community like nothing else ever could. the generous and courageous
response of so many assures us that there resides in people's hearts a goodness that is incredibly selfless. we saw that when summoned by great events, we can be remarkably committed to the well-being of others, even total strangers. we become a stronger people, a more courageous people, a more noble people. the police, emergency workers, and even bystanders and passersby did not hesitate to put themselves in harm's way to help the injured and the frightened. our presence here today is an act of solidarity, first of all with those that lost their lives, and we are so happy that krystle campbell's family is here in the cathedral with us. we are also in solidarity with those injured in the explosion and wish to express our desire
to support them and their families and loved ones. this patriots day shakes us out of our complacency and indifference and calls us to focus on the task of building civilization that is based on love and justice. we do not want to risk losing the legacy of those first patriots who were willing to lay down their lives for the common good. we must overcome the culture of death by promoting a culture of life. a profound respect for each and every human being made in the image and likeness of god. we must cultivate a desire to give our lives in the service of others. last week i was in galali with 30 priests from boston on retreat. there we prayed and listened to
the very gospel that was read for us here this morning. the sermon on the mount is a description of the life of the people gathered by and around the lord. often in the gospels, we can see the contrast between the crowd and the community. the crowd is made up of self-absorbed individuals, each one focused on his or her own interest, in competition with the conflicting projects of others. a community is where people come to value each other, to find their own identity in being part of something bigger than themselves, working together for the common good. the sermon on the mount in many ways is the constitution of the people called to live a new life. jesus gives us a new way to deal with offenses by reconciliation. jesus gives us a new way to deal with violence by nonviolence.
he gives us a new way to deal with money by sharing and providing for those in need. jesus gives us a new way of dealing with the gifts of ever person each one the child of god. in the face of the present tragedy, we must ask ourselves what kind of a community do we want to be? what are the ideals that we want to pass on to the next generation? it cannot be violence, hatred and fear. the jewish people speak of repairing the world. god has entrusted us with precisely that task, to prepare -- repair our broken world. we can no do it as a collection of individuals. we can only do it together as a community, as a family.
like every tragedy monday's events are a challenge and opportunity for us to work together with the renewed spirit of determination and solidarity and with the firm conviction that love is stronger than death. may ours be the sentiments of st. francis of asisi who prayed, lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me so love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope. where there is darkness, light. where there is sadness, joy. oh, divine master grant that i may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that
>> in my faith tradition scripture teaches in everything give thanks. that isn't always easy to do. on monday afternoon i was not feeling it. what i felt, what so many of us felt then was shock and confusion and anger. but the nature of faith i think is learning to return to the lessons even when they don't make sense, when they defy logic. and as i return to those lessons this week i found a few things
to be thankful for. i'm thankful for the firefighters and police officers and emts who ran toward the blasts not knowing whether the attack was over. and the volunteers and other civilians who ran to help right alongside them. i'm thankful for the medical professionals, from the doctors and trauma nurses to the housekeeping staff to the surgeon who finished the marathon and kept on running to his operating room all of whom performed at their very best. i'm thankful for the agents from the fbi and the atf, for the officers from the state police and boston p.d., for the soldiers from the national guard and all other law enforcement personnel who both restored order and started the methodical work of piecing together what happened and who's responsible. i'm thankful for mayor menino who started monday morning --
[ applause ] mayor menino started monday morning frustrated he couldn't be at the finish line this time as he always is. and then late that afternoon checked himself out of the hospital to help this city -- our city face down this tragedy. i'm thankful for those who have given blood to the hospitals, money to the one fund and prayers and messages of consolation and encouragement from all over the world. i'm thankful for the presence and steadfast support of the president and first lady, our many former governors who are here. thank you. [ applause ]
i'm thankful for the other civic and political leaders who are here today and for the many, many faith leaders who have ministered to us today and the days since monday. i'm thankful for the lives of krystle and ling and little martin and the lives of the families who survived them and for the lives of all the people who but who still woke up today with the hope of tomorrow. and i am thankful maybe most especially for the countless numbers of people in this proud city and this storied commonwealth who in the aftermath of such senseless violence let their first instinct be kindness. in a dark hour so many of you showed so many of us that